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January 4, 2014
Re "Myths to ditch in 2014," Opinion, Dec. 31 In a departure from speaking like one of the insular Republicans who criticize the Democrats in tones guaranteed to meet with closed-mindedness, Jonah Goldberg did both sides a service with this column. He got my attention by confessing that polarization by the right is as deleterious to the legislative process as that of the left. He closed with a plea in 2014 for more tolerance and effort at mutual understanding on both sides. My wish for 2014 is that he become an exemplar of his own advice.
December 27, 2013 | By Yvonne Villarreal, Greg Braxton, Meg James and Meredith Blake
The Times asked its reporters and critics to highlight figures in entertainment and the arts who will be making news in 2014. Here's who they picked: Jonathan Groff | Actor He closed out last year as the voice of the rugged mountain man romantic lead in Disney's animated feature "Frozen. " But things are about to get less PG for Jonathan Groff. The 28-year-old actor is switching out the unadulterated fun for adult-only fun when he stars in the HBO series "Looking. " The half-hour dramedy, from Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh ("Weekend")
December 27, 2013 | By Leon Logothetis
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. " - Mark Twain I just got home from a four-month-long around-the-world trip. When I left Los Angeles on my motorcycle on Aug. 10, I took almost nothing with me, except hope. My pockets were empty. I had no money, nothing, really, to offer those I met along the way except my story and my gratitude for their kindness in providing me with food, shelter and money for gasoline. My trip took me across the United States and to and through 19 countries, from the Hollywood sign to the plains of Nebraska, to the streets of Pittsburgh, to the shores of Lake Como, Italy, to the slums of India, to the ecstasy of Bhutan and into the rigors of Vietnam.
December 23, 2013 | By Karin Klein
Yet another commentary about “Duck Dynasty,” and it's hard for me to believe I'm the one writing it. But the brouhaha over the racist and anti-gay comments made by someone I assume is kind of the star of the reality show (because I've never seen it and this hasn't aroused my interest enough to do so) has to, at some point, lead to these questions: Who cares? Why should the comments of a man with no real clout cause such an uproar? Take it a step further: The Internet, for all its blessings, also has this uncanny ability to whip people into sharing, posting, tweeting, blogging, commenting and otherwise hyping one another into a frenzy even over something as low level as a solitary man with an opinion or two, as though we're not all people with opinions.
November 28, 2013 | By Greg Braxton
Jane Kean, best known for her role as Trixie, the long-suffering wife of Ed Norton on the 1960s TV revival of "The Honeymooners" with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, has died. She was 90. Kean, a resident of Toluca Lake, died Tuesday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of complications from a fall. Her niece, Deidre Wolpert, confirmed her death. Although she played diverse roles during a career spanning more than four decades, including performing at London's Palladium before moving to Broadway, Kean said her role in "The Honeymooners" was the character that most people remembered.
November 23, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Bill Cosby, 76, has a concert special Saturday -- his first such TV show in 30 years, though he hasn't been exactly out of sight in the meantime. There were a couple of sitcoms, and a mystery series, and lately, he has become a favored guest on Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night. " That he is effecting this return via Comedy Central, home of "Workaholics," "Drunk History" and "Inside Amy Schumer" and many stand-up hours featuring comedians less polite than himself is something he has a little comic sport with at the top. It is a sit-down, rather than a stand-up, performance.
November 22, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
The contestants on "The Biggest Loser" are just that - players in a reality show game who are subjected to harsh workouts, screeching coaches and weigh-ins on national television. The role is not for everyone, not even for everyone desperate to lose weight. There is, however, the possibility of an alternative performance; we'll call it "Biggest Loser" lite. The setting? The hills above Malibu. The Biggest Loser Resort is definitely a resort, with lots of wood and glass in the main building nestled among tall evergreens, a hot tub, delicious spa food served by waiters and other amenities.
November 20, 2013 | By David Horsey
A half-century ago, John F. Kennedy, Walter Cronkite and Marilyn Monroe were celebrities in their own spheres, but they stayed in their spheres. JFK never tried to be anything but a political figure, Cronkite never strayed from journalism and Marilyn was a movie star, not a pundit or a politician. A great deal has changed since then. Now, in a time when Sarah Palin has been a vice presidential candidate, a commentator on Fox News and host of her own reality TV show, the walls that used to divide politics, journalism and entertainment have a lot of swinging doors.
November 19, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The Writers Guild of America-East, which has been trying to unionize writers of "reality" shows for years now, is just out with a new report on the mistreatment of these wage slaves in the ever-burgeoning and fabulously profitable entertainment segment. How profitable? The average margins at the cable channels that depend on what is prettily described as "nonfiction" television run as high as 60%, the guild says. And why not? Overhead is low, on-air talent comes cheap. Even a modestly budgeted cable scripted show -- the guild cites "Royal Pains," a very entertaining show in its fifth season on the USA Network -- can cost up to $2.5 million an episode; a nonfiction show on the History channel tops out at $425,000, and some are as cheap as $100,000.
November 14, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford made a jaw-dropping, lewd comment today, offered a fresh apology, and now we find out he has a new TV show coming. The whirlwind of drama around Toronto's mayor has hardly abated since his Nov. 5 admission of having smoked crack cocaine. On Wednesday, accusations from police interviews revealed claims that Ford chugged vodka and drove drunk, associated with prostitutes, snorted cocaine, offered jobs to women he smoked pot with, and more. Colleagues have been pushing for him to take leave, which he has refused to do. And after apologizing profusely for his admitted crack cocaine use, the mayor now seems fed up. He has reportedly denied the new allegations , threatening to sue former staffers.
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